Black History Month: The Underground Railroad

February 5, 2016

February is Black History Month. It calls upon all Americans to honor African-American expressions of sacrifice and heroism throughout history. The earliest endeavors in the national civil rights struggle have much to do with the outcry against human bondage.

Prior to the Civil War, organized abolitionists were aided by the loosely interconnected Underground Railroad. Neither underground nor railroad, the UGGR, as it was known to patrons, was a scattered, clandestine network of antislavery diehards and freed blacks. Secret routes and safe houses dotted the antebellum landscape spanning from Georgia to Canada. Between the peak years of 1830 and 1865, it helped as many as one hundred thousand fugitive slaves escape to freedom.

Harriet Tubman (Library of Congress)

Harriet Tubman (Library of Congress)

Harriet Tubman, a UGGR conductor, remarked upon on her eight years spent freeing slaves: “I can say what most conductors can’t say—I never run my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.” Tubman became a revered voice in the protest against the debasing injustices of slavery. In 2013, President Obama established the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument. You can read the park pamphlet available through GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

Today, the Underground Railroad is an atypical national park. It wasn’t until the 1990s that it came under the jurisdiction the National Park Service (NPS). After conducting a study of UGGR operations and primary routes, NPS was entrusted with its preservation and interpretation. You can read the act establishing the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom on GPO’s govinfo.gov.

024-005-01185-4In addition, the U.S. Government Bookstore makes available the following National Park Service publications:

Underground Railroad: Official Map and Guide

Underground Railroad: Official National Park Handbook

Discovering the Underground Railroad: Junior Ranger Activity Book

The Underground Railroad connected sympathizers with freedom seekers, freed with enslaved. The untold numbers of underground success stories sprouted above ground into a vast nexus of advocates and defenders. Unquestionably, the UGGR ride to freedom helped lay the tracks for the civil rights movement of the 20th century. During this Black History Month, may we admire that extraordinary effort to liberate a people and the larger African-American journey to freedom in all its forms.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE RESOURCES?

Click on the Links: For the free resources, click on the links above in the blog post.

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Chelsea Milko, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


Elmo’s Fire-Safe World

February 2, 2016
Image source: http://www.sesameworkshop.org/

Happy Birthday, Elmo! Image source: www.sesameworkshop.org/

E-L-M-O! Any toddler goes bananas for that fuzzy mass who refers to himself only in third-person. Whenever my two-year-old niece sees a TV screen, she demands that Elmo appear like he’s some kind of omnipresent wizard. The falsetto-voiced Sesame Street pundit celebrates his birthday on February 3rd (he always turns 3 ½ that day). Insert high-decibel squeal of pre-K apostles who endorse the fire-engine red Muppet as their life coach. Fortunately for you, that’s a sound that cannot be conveyed in writing. So, instead, I will use this time to talk about Elmo and friend’s empowering fire safety message.

The message takes the form of the “Sesame Street Fire Safety Program Family Guide” from Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) U.S. Fire Administration. Family coloring book. Fire literacy primer. A get-it-together-you-grown-ups safety guide. It’s all those things. FEMA and Sesame Street really deliver. Everybody do the Elmo happy dance! Yes, all of you. Hordes of zealous preschoolers are watching.

064-000-00067-5This guide is not just about Elmo. A proper shout out goes to Cookie Monster, Grover, and Telly Monster. Together, the fire brigade educates with catchphrases like “hot, hot, stay away. hot, hot, not for play” and “get outside and stay outside!” The playbook covers how to avoid hot things that burn, make a home escape map, family practice time, and simple steps to follow if the smoke alarm sounds. For parents and caregivers, there are kitchen safety tips for you, too.

Start a healthy discussion around a scary thing like a fire emergency. Demonstrate that preparation and prevention are skills that the entire family can work on together. Cultivate lifelong fire safety habits. Make it a fun process. As the guide says, “fire safety begins at home. The simple steps you take can make a big difference in staying safe from fires.”

So, grab a copy of “Sesame Street Fire Safety Program Family Guide” for your family. Think of it as a conversation starter to reduce the risk of a fire-starter. And remember, it’s Elmo’s fire-safe world. We just live in it.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THIS PUBLICATION?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Chelsea Milko, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


30 Years Since Challenger

January 27, 2016

January 28th marks 30 years since the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. On that day in 1986, the NASA Space Shuttle orbiter broke apart a mere 73 seconds into flight. The vehicle disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean. All seven crew members perished. Among them was Christa McAuliffe, who would have been the first teacher in space. Initial post-incident inquiries determined a catastrophic O-ring failure caused the explosion; an investigative commission cited a flawed decision-making process was also to blame. Such a tremendous loss put the program on hiatus and Congress on an earnest search for answers.

Challenger crew. Front row from left, Mike Smith, Dick Scobee, Ron McNair. Back row from left, Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Greg Jarvis, Judith Resnik. Image source: www.nasa.gov

Challenger crew: Front row from left, Mike Smith, Dick Scobee, Ron McNair. Back row from left, Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Greg Jarvis, Judith Resnik. Image source: www.nasa.gov

GPO’s Federal Digital System makes available the “Investigation of the Challenger Accident” report issued by the House Committee on Science and Technology. The result is 450 pages of findings and concerns. Page seven beautifully sums up the heavy task:

“Perhaps it is arrogant to dissect and interrogate relentlessly projects and programs that bring home repeated A’s for achievement and accomplishment. However, all of us— NASA, the Committee, the Congress and the Nation—have learned from the Challenger tragedy that it is wisdom to do so, and it is a reflection of respect for the human fallibility that we all possess.”

The Space Shuttle program resumed not long after the investigation closed. Its three decades of stratospheric history is the subject of NASA’s “Celebrating 30 years of the Space Shuttle Program.” Contained within the coffee table-worthy publication is dazzling color photography. Each page has quick facts on every orbiter mission and crew. Milepost moments, such Hubble Telescope deployment and the first American woman in space, Sally Ride, receive honorable mention. The book is a love letter to the program’s above-planet discoveries and home planet breakthroughs.

033-000-01355-8In the preamble, NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr. writes of the Challenger disaster:

“We’ll never forget…Many of us counted them as our personal friends, and their achievements will live on in the spirit of perseverance and grit and hope in which they lived and worked. They were all true heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice to this country.”

That tribute is a reminder of how the story of human space flight—its bounds pushed by the Shuttle program—is one of unsurpassed achievement and tragedy. 30 years and 135 missions defined the agency and inspired a skilled, committed engineer and astronaut workforce. That’s why, year after year, NASA upholds its ranking as the best place to work in the Federal Government. The agency is stocked with grown-up kid scientists living their starry-eyed dream of space exploration. They’re the not-so-secret sauce keeping NASA on the frontline of research and results.

The Shuttle’s 2011 retirement was, as Administrator Bolden called it, bittersweet. After all, orbiters Challenger, Columbia, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavor helped build the largest human made structure in space, the International Space Station. Some of the bitter to that sweet, of course, is the Challenger disaster. It was a profoundly tragic pause in NASA’s determined mission to reach into the unknown. But it pressed on. Such boundless sight is what makes NASA the world leader in space and a spearhead of the human experience.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE RESOURCES?

Click on the Links: For the free resources, click on the links above in the blog post.

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Chelsea Milko, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


Winter Weather Awareness and Preparedness

January 21, 2016

Freshly fallen snow glistening like icicles on tree limbs is a beautiful side effect of winter. Despite the beauty winter can bring, the season can also bring dangerous weather such as blizzards and ice storms. It is important to be prepared for the unexpected, especially when traveling. You never know when you may run into car troubles and in times of extreme cold, a travel preparedness kit can be a lifesaver. It is also important to make sure to have these preparedness kits in your house as well, due to the danger that a winter storm could knock out power, leaving many homes without heat.

It is important to do research and be prepared for inclement weather before winter starts.

Ready.gov, the Department of Homeland Security’s Emergency Preparedness Website gives great tips on how to prepare for winter weather, what to do during a storm, and what to do after a storm is over.

The National Weather Service’s winter weather hub includes resources and information about forecasts, winter storms, hazards, weather predictions and much more. They also offer Simple Steps to Stay Safe and winter weather advisories searchable by zip code.

The CDC offers more tips for preparation and actions taken during and after storms. The CDC also provides information about health problems that can arise due to winter hazards.

The Red Cross provides information about common winter weather terms that are often misunderstood and more information about preparedness.

GPO’s US Government Bookstore offers publications for sale about winter weather preparedness.

GPO’s Federal Digital System offers Winter Storms, a Hearing before the Subcommittee on Disaster Prevention and Prediction.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE RESOURCES?

Click on the Links: For the free resources, click on the links above in the blog post.

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the Author: Teresa Mock is an intern with GPO’s Library Services and Content Management division.


Crude Facts: Global Oil Market Trends

January 19, 2016

Talk of global oil market trends is everywhere these days. “The price of oil” is a phrase that seems to appear in every news report; it’s one that implies more than the price board at a gas station. Right now, cheap gas prices mean U.S. consumers are on top. In the long term, market volatility could potentially spread into a broader financial crisis and turn winners into losers.

008-000-01156-7_Page_01In “The Strategic Importance of the Global Oil Market,” Dr. Leif Rosenberger of the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute points to the work of geopolitics, energy technology, and the Fed’s monetary policy as powerful market forces. His main argument focuses on the causality of record low crude oil prices: a gush of new oil supplies, reduced demand, ill-advised financial market speculation, and a stronger U.S. dollar.

Rosenberger asserts that the shale oil glut from U.S. producers has put global oil prices in a tailspin. Booming oil production has the U.S. “swimming” in a 30-year supply of unconventional fracking and horizontal drilling oil. This surplus is driving prices down and the oil industry into slump not seen in 20 years. American oil businesses are fighting for survival. Company profits are squeezed and the price floor is nowhere in sight.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, which straddles about ¼ of the world’s oil, is engaging U.S. shale oil producers in a “de facto price war.” Saudis can confidently dip into their oil stabilization and sovereign wealth funds to weather the market slowdown. Yet the U.S., hanging tightly to the label of “swing producer,” struggles to sustain its shale oil production in a low price environment.  Oil Pump_Teapot Dome Oilfield WY_DOE pic (002)

Rosenberger calls for a clear, cooperative international strategy that brings petro-states into a “wartime alliance” with U.S. oil producers. He makes the case for an international energy early warning system to monitor boom-bust indicators and predict an oil crisis well before it begins. For two interests currently at odds with one another—that of U.S. oil production, the other of global price stability—to coexist, Rosenberger believes sounder international oil policy is needed. That’s the crude reality.

How do I obtain this publication?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Chelsea Milko, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


MLK Jr.’s Words of Freedom

January 14, 2016

Wars have been fought for it. Treaties and pacts have been formed to ensure it. Men and women have sacrificed everything for the chance to experience it. That “it” is freedom.

"Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1929-1968--In Memoriam," image courtesy of loc.gov

“Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1929-1968–In Memoriam” (Image source www.loc.gov)

Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote in his 1963 Letter from a Birmingham Jail thatfreedom is never given voluntarily by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” You must demand it, for it will not be given freely. MLK also believed that liberty most often comes to those who petition for it peacefully. There’s a lion-meets-lamb dichotomy to that struggle. Peacefully-achieved freedom is not safe from threat. It must be as fiercely defended as if it were ardently attained. But because of the peace upon which that freedom is built, its integrity is unassailable.

MLK Jr.’s campaign for civil rights proved that nonviolent yet daring challenges to opinion do work. Halt the forward moving arm of oppression extended by those who dare to infringe civil rights. But do so with through the emancipating, redemptive power of human kindness. It’s a strong precedent of pacifism that Dr. King set. It’s influenced many future aspirations to guarantee the fundamental rights and freedoms of people everywhere.

"March on Washington, August 28, 1963." 1963. Image courtesy of loc.gov

“March on Washington, August 28, 1963.” 1963. (Image source www.loc.gov)

You can learn more about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement in Free at Last: the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. And through an act of Congress, a plaque marking the spot on atop the Lincoln Memorial where Dr. King delivered his famed “I Have A Dream” speech. Both documents are available online through GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

Dr. King’s actions supplied a legacy. And his rafter-reaching speeches remain connected to the idea that all people are, to paraphrase The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, free and equal in dignity and rights. Dr. King’s words remind us of the best of what America has accomplished and implore us to never unfix our gaze from the best of what America can be.

You can find other resources related to African American history by clicking here or through any of these methods:

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Chelsea Milko, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.

 


Best Selling Federal Government Books of 2015

January 12, 2016

The start of a new year is finally upon us! And although it’s an exciting time as we jump start our “New Year” resolutions, it’s also a great time to reflect on accomplishments made during the past year. For the U.S. Government Bookstore, this means highlighting our best-selling Federal publications of 2015.

The following publications, some of which have been featured in this blog, were chosen through purchases made by our readers over the past year. Government Book Talk is pleased to announce the U.S. Government Bookstore Best Sellers of 2015!

006-000-01580-8OPM Federal Career Service Award Certificates. Gold Retirement Federal Career Service Award Certificates, sized 8.5×11 inches to fit certificate frames. Printed on high quality, off-white heavy paper stock, each certificate is embossed with a metallic version of the Great Seal of the United States, used for official Government documents. As authorized by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

052-071-01545-1Constitution of the United States and the Declaration of Independence (Pocket Edition). A pocket-size booklet containing the complete text of these two core documents of American democracy, the Constitution of the United States and the Declaration of Independence.

Forts of Old San Juan: San Juan National Historic Site, Puerto Rico tells the story of the evolution of the defenses of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the role they played in helping to safeguard Spanish possessions in the Caribbean from the 16th to the 19th centuries.024-005-01159-5

Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents, and Survivors, 2014. Veterans of the United States armed forces may be eligible for a broad range of benefits and services provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Some of these benefits may be utilized while on active duty. These benefits are codified in Title 38 of the United States Code. This booklet contains a summary of these benefits effective Jan. 1, 2014. For additional information, visit www.va.gov/.051-000-00247-4

055-000-00679-2The Lead-Safe Certified Guide to Renovate Right, September 2011 Revision. This pamphlet is for you if you reside in a home built before 1978, or if you own or operate a child care facility, including preschools and kindergarten classrooms built before 1978, or if you have a child under six years old who attends child care facility built before 1978.

017-001-00566-5International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis as Approved by the World Health Organization. Known popularly as the Carte Jaune or Yellow Card, this is the international certificate of vaccination (ICV) as approved by the World Health Organization. The Yellow Card is recognized internationally and may be required for entry to certain countries where there are increased health risks for travelers.

063-000-00095-7Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute: Chapter 71 of Title 5 of the U.S. Code, as Amended, and 5 U.S.C. 5596, The Back Pay Act, as Amended (2012). Known as the FLRA Pocket Statute. It is the purpose of this chapter to prescribe certain rights and obligations of the employees of the Federal Government and to establish procedures which are designed to meet the special requirements and needs of the Government. The provisions of this chapter should be interpreted in a manner consistent with the requirement of an effective and efficient Government.

027-002-00604-6Learn About the United States: Quick Civics Lessons for the Naturalization Test (Book and Audio CD) Revised edition. Contains short lessons based on each of the 100 civics questions. Ideal for both U.S. history/ civics students as well as legal residents preparing for the United States Naturalization citizenship test, this set contains information that will help you learn more about important concepts in American history and government.

050-012-00516-8U.S. Coast Guard Incident Management Handbook 2014. The Coast Guard Incident Management Handbook (IMH) is designed to assist Coast Guard personnel in the use of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and the Incident Command System (ICS) during response operations and planned events.   The Incident Management Handbook is an easy reference job aid for responders. It is not a policy document, but rather guidance for response personnel.

017-060-00663-3Health Insurance Claims Forms (CMS-1500) Single Sheets (Revised 2012). The CMS-1500 form is the standard claim form developed by the National Uniform Claim Committee (NUCC) and used by all non-institutional medical provider or supplier to bill Medicare carriers and durable medical equipment regional carriers (DMERCs) when a provider qualifies for a waiver from the Administrative Simplification Compliance Act (ASCA) requirement for electronic submission of claims. It is also used for billing of some Medicaid State Agencies (contact your Medicaid State Agency for more details).

And there you have it, our top 10 best-sellers of 2015. Here’s looking forward to another exciting year in Federal government publications. Happy 2016!

These publications and more can be found on the U.S. Government Online Bookstore http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

How can I get these “Best-selling Books of 2015”?

Shop Online: You can purchase these publications from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov by clicking on the individual links above in this blog post. You may also click here to shop our entire “Best Sellers of 2015” collection.

  • Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.
  • Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.
  • Visit a Federal Depository Library: Search for one of these publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Trudy Hawkins is Senior Marketing and Promotions Specialist in GPO’s Publication & Information Sales Division supporting the U.S. Government Online Bookstore (http://bookstore.gpo.gov).

 


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